Dundeel set to begin road to A$4 million feature

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will be welcoming their champion Dundeel back into the stable today.

Dundeel has been spelling since finishing eighth in the Gr. 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 26 and is to be set on a Group One path to his main mission, the revised A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19.

“He’s been spelling at Henley Park and I went out and saw him on Tuesday,” said Baker. “He looks great. He’s had a good break and he’s ready do something.”

The only opportunity New Zealanders may get to see Dundeel in action on home soil is in trackwork or if he has a trial or an exhibition gallop between races.

“He won’t race here before he goes over,” said Baker. “The plan is to kick off in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm on March 8. He’ll then have two more runs before the Queen Elizabeth.”

All of Dundeel’s planned starts will be in Group One races with distances ranging from 1600 to 2400 metres. The A$500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes is over 1600 metres and he will then start in the A$500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 22 and the A$1.5 million BMW (2400m) before dropping back to 2000 in the new jewel in Sydney’s autumn crown.

Orion, Dundeel’s three-year-old stablemate, has also been spelling at Henley Park since campaigning in Melbourne and will remain there for another week to 10 days. “I just want to leave him out a bit longer,” said Baker. “It’ll do him good in the long run.”

Orion was an impressive winner of his sole start as a two-year-old, at Te Rapa last March, and was taken to Melbourne with a start in the Gr. 1 Victoria Derby as the long-range aim. He had four starts during the spring campaign and, though he finished second at Moonee Valley second-up, he failed to show enough to press ahead with a Derby tilt.

Also currently out spelling is Baker and Forsman’s Gr. 1 Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas winner Atlante, who has been at the Cambridge property of his part-owners Mark and Shelley Treweek since his defeat of Chambord at Riccarton.

“He’ll stay out another week or 10 days and he’ll go over to Sydney and run first-up in the Hobartville Stakes,” said Baker. “Then there’s the Randwick Guineas for him. I’m not sure about the Derby at this stage. I don’t know whether he’ll get the distance. We’ll just wait and see on that one.”